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Before the Retooling: Nancy, Molly, Cindy, Sue Ann, Mr. Bradley and Miss Mahoney

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I watched the show during its initial run for most of the seasons.  For me, season 3 was the best.  I think everything came together, the storylines were basically good and the actresses all worked well together.  Once Blair and Jo graduated from Eastland, the show seemed to slowly lose its footing.

That said, the first season explored more of the girls school theme.  We saw Mrs. Garrett as house mother (we never heard of a house mother again, did we, after she was "promoted" to school dietician?) and saw the girls in the classroom (although it wasn't likely that all of the girls would be in the same classroom, especially Tootie with Blair and Nancy.)   However, as I pointed out in my post upthread, I think the retooling was the right decision if based only on the fact that the writers really didn't do much character development or exploration for Nancy or Molly.  They did a bit more for Sue Ann and Cindy, but not much.  Cindy could possibly have moved into the Jo role if not for Julie Anne Haddock being a blonde and being a year or two behind Blair.  Nancy was the right age and a brunette but she wasn't tomboyish and feisty enough.

I disagree that Mindy wasn't deserving because she wasn't a professional actress.  Everyone has to start somewhere and I think she had excellent comedic timing.

 

ETA:  Miss Mahoney was the most poorly written, stereotypical character in my opinion.  The role did Jenny O'Hara no favors and she added absolutely nothing to the scenes she was in or the show.  And apparently she was the only teacher at Eastland! 

Edited by psychoticstate · Reason: Forgot Miss Mahoney . . . kind of like everyone else.
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interesting prospective..Mindy Cohn had but she was a minor reason people watched the show. People watch because of Lisa and Charlotte. They were like Ron Howard and Henry Winkler. Ironically, Julie Anne was in real life two years younger than Lisa, Where as Nancy McKeon was three years younger. Mindy Cohn was discovered at a private school when production wanted to see how girls acted. Mindy Cohn was not supposed to be on show however Charlotte Rae liked her. Kim was too young at ten and had to be put on roller skates for camera angles. Julie Anne Haddock was in a movie The Great Santini, TV show Mulligans' Stew and an episode of Wonder Woman..She was prettiest and most talented..Felice who played Nancy was first one hired and first one fired, followed by Julie Piekarski then Molly Ringwald and finally Julie Anne Haddock. Show biz can be very unfair. It was sad those girls got fired show lost it's girls school flavor.

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All I remember is that both Julie Ann and LIsa were from the Micky Mouse Club. Of course, Lisa was a brunette, and not the blonde when she appeared on this show. I really enjoyed the first season, and I watched all 9 seasons in its initial run and in repeats before cable.  Can't add anything more than what @psychoticstate said. What I loved about this show and all the actresses, were that they were real girls, and not toothpick thin, botoxed, collagened, all "beautiful" models acting. I could relate to every single one of them; knew a girl just like every one of them during that period in my life.

Can't say that about sitcoms/shows today. 

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Julie Piekarski and Lisa Whelchel were from Mickey Mouse club. Julie Anne Haddock was not. They were all special girls. Except for Molly Ringwald; Julie Anne Haddock, Julie Piekarski and Felice Schachter didn't have much of an acting careers. Julie Anne was my favorite. Btw I loved the Eastland outfits especially shorts and t-shirts.. To me the most surprising was John Lawlor the Headmaster and Julie Piekarski who played Sue Anne were fired. I still think originally cast could have made it but bad timing and tv critics killed first season.

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What's shocking was Julie Anne didn't have much of a career after Facts Of Life..Listening to a transcript from Julie Piekarski she didn't expect to be let go from show..She also said after downsizing that audience didn't need to be spoon feed. If Fol kept any combination of these girls show would have still made it.. I would have kept all but if I was forced to choose it would be Lisa, Julie Anne, Julie and Molly. ?

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7 hours ago, TGD said:

If Fol kept any combination of these girls show would have still made it..

Maybe.  It's hard to say.  They needed to retool the characters, whether they kept them all or wrote off the ones they did.  Nothing against the actresses, who were all fine; this was more an issue due to the writing than anything else.  

Moving the show from Friday nights to Wednesdays had to have helped them as well.

I liked the first season for what it was but season two seemed more focused to me.  Season one was a bit cliche, with the dopey Mr. Bradley, all the girls in the same classroom and the never-seen but much talked about Roger.  Season two on felt more cohesive to me. 

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The writing for first season was not great but the episodes were adorable. Sometimes a show that is offbeat, silly, fun loving, innocent and delivering a message is more enjoyable. FOL first season did not know what to do with the Nancy or Molly characters. Ironically there was strong indication that FOL producers prefered Molly over Kim.. Julie Anne was last to be let go because they decided on Nancy Mckeon instead. I think Julie Anne was a superior actress than Nancy McKeon. The big shocker was Julie Piekarski getting fired she was featured a lot and had great chemistry with Lisa..I personally like the befuddled Stephen Bradley played by John Lawlor. I enjoyed the chemistry between Charlotte Rae and John Lawlor. According to John Lawlor, Charlotte Rae was very disappointed when he got fired..That's show business. ??

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On 6/29/2016 at 11:43 AM, TGD said:

Julie Anne was last to be let go because they decided on Nancy Mckeon instead. I think Julie Anne was a superior actress than Nancy McKeon. 

Im going to have to disagree with you on this one. Nancy was  more talented and she had more experience -I remember seeing her on The Love Boat when she was just a kid: she also did voice work for this Saturday morning cartoon about Ms. Switch-who was a witch. Then there's her post Facts of Life career- a LOT of movies.  Julie Ann? I think I only saw her appear as a mean girl on an episode of Gimme a Break.

Both Nancy and her brother, were compared to the McNichol siblings-in that, the McKeons were the it sibs actors of the 80s, while Jimmy and Kristy- the 70s.

But, preference, like chemistry, is subjective.

Edited by GHScorpiosRule · Reason: Because knowing the correct names of characters/actors is IMPORTANT!!!
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While the producers may have preferred Molly (and I'm sure they were kicking themselves based on Molly Ringwald's post FOL career) the character of Molly was painfully undeveloped.  Kim had an edge over her not only because Tootie had more character but also because Tootie was good friends with Natalie.  Molly really didn't have a partner or buddy.

I think Julie P. had good chemistry with Lisa but the character of Jo exceeded that. I think Sue Ann was supposed to be a farm girl from Kansas but forcing Blair to room with a hardcore tomboy from the Bronx who rode a motorcycle was much better for storyline purposes.  

I have to agree with @GHScorpiosRule on the superior actress.  Maybe Julie Ann was an exceptional actress but she really didn't get a chance to show that during her one season.  It may not have been her fault; I think the writers simply didn't know what to do with her character (and Molly, Nancy and to a lesser extent Sue Ann) because they had a handful they were juggling and trying to do so in roughly 22 minutes per episode. Could it have been done?  Sure, look at The Brady Bunch, where the writers dealt with 8 regular characters each week and the viewers felt as if they knew each character.  

Regardless, Nancy as Jo was always my favorite character throughout the run of the show, with Mindy's Natalie a close second.  

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Julie Ann just didn't get the exposure on FOL to showcase her talents. Look at season one episode: Rough Housing and episode: Running. Julie Anne actually had more experience than Nancy, hence the following: Like Norman People tv movie, Scavenger Hunt TV movie, Mulligan's Stew TV show and big screen Movie The Great Santini. She was on several episodes on another TV show called Boone. John Lawlor called Julie Anne a very talented actress and a hard worker. Kim Fields said Julie Anne was a hard worker and enjoyed her work in the movie The Great Santini. Lisa Whelchel said Julie Anne came to FOL with the most experience and was the prettiest girl on the Set. Th casting director of FOL said: she had Julie Anne back on many callbacks for other shows. While Nancy played the blue collar Jo superbly. I still don't believe she had more talent than Julie Anne. Did Nancy save FOL; No! However she was a big part of the success. Ultimately it was Charlotte Rae and Lisa Whelchel who saved the show.  Julie Anne should have let FOL after getting fired instead she went back for a few filler roles. Molly Ringwald was smart she did one episode of FOL in second season and left for good. Julie Anne last acting credit was in 1986 reunion episode of FOL. She said in an interview she got tired of Hollywood and that the industry had changed. I can say one thing for sure Julie Anne was much prettier than Nancy McKeon!! I saw some picture of her back in the early 1980's.  Sometimes in life you are better off just being lucky. Of course I respect everyone's opinion.... :)

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While Julie Anne had more experience prior to FOL; Nancy McKeon had a successful TV and Movie career... After all, she was the only one from FOL, besides Molly Ringwald, who had successful career outside of FOL. Poor Julie Anne, she was unlucky in a lot of ways. Mulligans Stew ended after one season, then her role ended after one season of FOL and finally she was on Boone another short lived TV show; that kind of luck can make you want to move onto a new career; plus the stress of auditing and fighting for roles. God bless Julie Anne; as I am one that recognized your special talent. :)

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On 6/29/2016 at 0:02 PM, GHScorpiosRule said:

Both Nancy and her brother, were compared to the McNichol siblings-in that, the McKeons were the it sibs actors of the 80s, while Jimmy and Jennifer- the 70s.

I believe you meant Kristy :) .

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Julie Anne never had a chance to show her talents in FOl..However she had more experience than Nancy. She was in Mulligan's Stew, Scavenger Hunt, Like Normal People and a very popular movie called Scavenger Hunt. Kim Fields in Lost girls interview said she liked her work in the Great

Nancy McKeon was talented but have to admit Julie Anne Haddock had the "IT" factor like Molly Ringwald..You need luck in the entertainment business which she didn't have.

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Molly Ringwald so so talented and let go from FOL that made Producers look bad.

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Facts of Life season one ROCKED! A girls school is supposed to be about lots of GIRLS..

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This is a show that I always enjoyed, even after the graduated or when Mrs. Garrett left. My only big complaints about the first retool is that they only kept three of the girls. I would've maybe kept one more and kept up the recurring appearances for some of the other girls. I don't think any of the characters were particularly weak so it was sad seeing so much talent go to waste. Then looking at the reunion, you could only get three girls back so I would've brought Molly Ringwald or someone in just to pad it out. That reunion showed why you shouldn't reduce it to such a small cast. Had they focused on maybe five girls, it wouldn't have been so jarring having Jo out of the picture.

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Cindy, played by Julie Anne Haddock was a serious professional actress. John Lawlor aka Mr. Bradley said she was quite an actress and a hard worker. She was in a short lived tv show Mulligan Stew and a movie called the Great Santini. Molly Ringwald only came back for one episode and hated going back. In the end she made a great decision. Julie Haddock should have done the same. If a staff reduction was necessary Tootie because of her age and being put on roller skates needed to go. Natalie was not a professional actress she would have been my second choice to be let go. Nancy first one hired was totally hosed, Sue Anne who was heavily feature also should have stayed as well as Cindy and Molly based on their talent. This group and Blair would have excelled..

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https://twitter.com/juliebrodyb

Felice Schachter who played Nancy Olson on left and the still very beautiful Julie Anne Haddock who played Cindy Webster. Felice is now 52 and Julie Anne is 51. Both girls had a long awaited reunion recently. Much love and respect to FOL first season girls. Julie Anne still looking amazing!!!!

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One of those "behind the scenes" shows explained why they made their decisions on who to keep. I forgot the details but they got rid of redundant chars and uninteresting ones.

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On June 28, 2016 at 10:40 AM, TGD said:

What's shocking was Julie Anne didn't have much of a career after Facts Of Life..Listening to a transcript from Julie Piekarski she didn't expect to be let go from show..She also said after downsizing that audience didn't need to be spoon feed. If Fol kept any combination of these girls show would have still made it.. I would have kept all but if I was forced to choose it would be Lisa, Julie Anne, Julie and Molly. ?

Not me, Julie and Julie Anne would have been my first two choices to cut. They were such wooden, 70s caricatures. Molly Ringwald's character wasn't my favorite, but at least she was a better actress than the Julies. And I actually thought Felice Schacter could have really done something with a character that had actual writing and not just "waiting for Roger to call/come over." She got hosed with that character, there was literally nothing to it. 

I think she could have made an interesting quasi-villain (minor) character to play opposite the girls they kept + Nancy, like a Blair without the redeeming qualities. They were lacking the kind of unapologetically snooty girl that I imagine would be found at a school like that. Natalie and Tootie never gave off an air of kids who came from wealthy homes even though they both did, and Blair's snobbiness was softened by her other qualities.

 

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https://twitter.com/juliebrodyb

Felice Schachter who played Nancy Olson on left and the still very beautiful Julie Anne Haddock who played Cindy Webster. Felice is now 52 and Julie Anne is 51. Both girls had a long awaited reunion recently. Much love and respect to FOL first season girls. Julie Anne still looking amazing!!!!

 

Julie Anne does look beautiful. But the stark math of "Nancy" and "Cindy" being 52 and 51 is depressing me. :( 

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On September 16, 2016 at 6:02 PM, Maherjunkie said:

Don't feel too bad.  We grew up in a good time.

I was born the same year the show debuted so they're a bit older than me, but the fact that neither of them were in the public eye much after that time combined with the "frozen in time" quality of syndicated shows makes it extra jarring to think of them as 50-somethings. 

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Natalie was not a professional actress she would have been my second choice to be let go.

Honestly, based on her acting in that first season, I probably would have let her go as well, but I think her acting really came together in subsequent seasons (not perfect obviously, she did smile at her own jokes a bit too much and had some cringeworthy scenes, but they all did) and I'm glad she got the chance to improve. It's pretty impressive that she learned on the fly amongst all those child actors and held her own in the cast. 

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I always really admired Mindy for that reason. She had some of the best comic timing of all four girls during the subsequent seasons--the difference between night and day. The whole "exam hat" scene always makes me laugh out loud, no matter how many times I've seen it!

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On 9/16/2016 at 11:50 AM, ljenkins782 said:

Not me, Julie and Julie Anne would have been my first two choices to cut. They were such wooden, 70s caricatures. Molly Ringwald's character wasn't my favorite, but at least she was a better actress than the Julies. And I actually thought Felice Schacter could have really done something with a character that had actual writing and not just "waiting for Roger to call/come over." She got hosed with that character, there was literally nothing to it. 

I think she could have made an interesting quasi-villain (minor) character to play opposite the girls they kept + Nancy, like a Blair without the redeeming qualities. They were lacking the kind of unapologetically snooty girl that I imagine would be found at a school like that. Natalie and Tootie never gave off an air of kids who came from wealthy homes even though they both did, and Blair's snobbiness was softened by her other qualities.

 

I agree.  I think they had too many blondes; Sue Ann and Cindy were redundant.  The writers gave Blair a lot of personality, characteristics and qualities that could be enhanced.  They didn't do the same with Sue Ann, Cindy, Molly or Nancy.  Sure, we knew that Cindy was the tomboy; Sue Ann was from Kansas; Molly's parents were getting divorced but that's really it.  

I think Nancy got it the worst.  She was supposedly brainy and all she did was wait around for Roger.  Did they even mention anything about her family, where she was from, etc.?  What an insult, not only to Felice Schacter but to the character.  I do remember hearing that FS was the first hired and the first let go.  

On 9/19/2016 at 11:03 AM, ljenkins782 said:

Honestly, based on her acting in that first season, I probably would have let her go as well, but I think her acting really came together in subsequent seasons (not perfect obviously, she did smile at her own jokes a bit too much and had some cringeworthy scenes, but they all did) and I'm glad she got the chance to improve. It's pretty impressive that she learned on the fly amongst all those child actors and held her own in the cast. 

I think the acting was shaky from everyone that first season, with perhaps the exception of Lisa Whelchel and Charlotte Rae.  Many of the girls came off as too eager and not as natural as they either later would or could have.  (Molly Ringwald was a perfect example.)  This could have been due to the writing or the direction.  

On 9/19/2016 at 11:14 AM, Aja said:

I always really admired Mindy for that reason. She had some of the best comic timing of all four girls during the subsequent seasons--the difference between night and day. The whole "exam hat" scene always makes me laugh out loud, no matter how many times I've seen it!

The exam hat scene is gold.  The entire episode is good.  When FOL was good, they really excelled.  I can't imagine another show of that time period that were aimed at the same type of viewers who would attempt to and succeed in pulling off an episode where all the main characters were sitting in a car.  I know quite a few posters loved the original characters but I think the chemistry with Blair, Jo, Natalie and Tootie couldn't be beat. 

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If I were going by my favorite characters alone my group would be Blair, Jo, Natalie & Sue Ann, so basically the only one who would've not stuck around would've been Tootie... but I also think that would've been a weird group as well as because I don't know who Natalie's best friend would've been. Oh well, I love Tootie but it's fun to think about how things could've been different anyway.

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Sue Ann wasnt just from Kansas...she was also eager, a little naive, and was sarcastic..especially to Blair.

Molly was a little feminist, but her timing/delivery was off.  i do agree that Cindy and Nancy were weakest based on character traits...though i do think Cindy had some good scenes in the pilot episode.

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On November 25, 2016 at 10:12 PM, JAYJAY1979 said:

Sue Ann wasnt just from Kansas...she was also eager, a little naive, and was sarcastic..especially to Blair.

Molly was a little feminist, but her timing/delivery was off.  i do agree that Cindy and Nancy were weakest based on character traits...though i do think Cindy had some good scenes in the pilot episode.

Yeah, but Julie Piekarski couldn't pull off sarcasm. Her line delivery was very high school play-esque, she always sounded like she was trying to project to the back of the room, which comes off super cheesy on a small screen. 

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I think the acting was shaky from everyone that first season, with perhaps the exception of Lisa Whelchel and Charlotte Rae.  Many of the girls came off as too eager and not as natural as they either later would or could have.  (Molly Ringwald was a perfect example.)  This could have been due to the writing or the direction.

Kim Fields was pretty solid that first year. Arguably a better acting quality than some of her later performances. She was sassier and not as whiny/dramatic as she would later become.  

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I will never not love Mrs. G. assuring Cindy that being into sports was not a sign of lesbianism, and citing Billie Jean King as an example for this proposition.  I was honestly a little surprised by some of the subject matter of the first season episodes.  I vaguely recall that they have a Parent's Day, and Blair's mother comes to visit, essentially announces to her daughter that she's going to have sex with the married father of another student, and then slaps Blair for not being on board with this plan.  

Also I remember the audience gasping when Mr. Bradley asks Blair what the "hell" she thought she was doing in presenting an Emily Dickinson poem as her own work.  Simpler times.          

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Oh, season 1 of Facts of Life is CRAZY! I NEVER get tired of it! Sue Ann writing her book report stoned ("Captain Ahab had one good leg...and one wood leg.") Natalie and Tootie buying a bong to put jelly beans in. Short shorts that were one square-inch of fabric away from g-strings. Blair hitting on the headmaster and smoking a cigarette behind the couch. The whole Cindy-is-a-lesbian-but-not storyline. I love the first season even though I don't really think of it as "officially" The Facts of Life yet. 

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Maybe they could have had Kimberly from different strokes on for awhile, not as a major character but as a minor character that could help bolster the shows ratings while it found its footing. 

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On ‎4‎/‎22‎/‎2014 at 4:23 PM, Wordsworth said:

Season One of "The Facts of Life" discussion: all those extra girls and, oh, wow, is that Arnold from "Diff'rent Strokes"?

Julie Anne Haddock was very talented hence the Great Santini. Lisa Whelchel said Julie Anne was prettiest girl on the show. John Lawlor said Julie Anne was an especially good actress and a hard worker. Julie Anne had makings of a star just didn't get the luck you need.

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On 12/25/2016 at 5:30 PM, Kiss my mutt said:

Maybe they could have had Kimberly from different strokes on for awhile, not as a major character but as a minor character that could help bolster the shows ratings while it found its footing. 

Unfortunately, I think that part of the reason they used Kimberly to launch the spin-off was to reduce Dana Plato's role, as she was already having issues. I remember looking forward to her being on the new show ( she was very close to my age) and being disappointed when she wasn't in it.

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On 7/12/2015 at 6:46 AM, Maverick said:

There was a real school in upstate New York where they filmed the exteriors. That's where they found Mindy. She wasn't an actress before the show. The just liked her and hired her for the part.

I have no idea where they filmed the exteriors but Mindy Cohn went to school in LA and that's where they found her. She was a student at the Westlake School for Girls (now Harvard-Westlake) and the show creators visited the school to do a little field research. I think Rae was with them and she or they observed Mindy entertaining her friends in the lunch room. Interesting fact (and very random): The Westlake campus is near Benedict canyon and the first night of the Manson murders, some of the girls were out on a camping trip. They were asleep but one of the counselors was keeping watch and overheard some of what was happening.

On 7/14/2015 at 0:08 PM, sev said:

"'Tumpy'?! What kind of name is 'Tumpy'?! "

"Beats me... Tootie."

I am forced to correct you ;) I believe Mrs. Garrett's response was actually "It's not nice to make fun of people's names...Tootie."

On 6/25/2016 at 4:43 PM, 3pwood said:

I did.  Granted, I never saw the show until it was in syndication during the early 1990s, when I was giving a friend rides home from work & her roommate would have that channel on the TV.  I usually stuck around to watch because I thought Natalie was such a funny character -- I also liked Blair, but would not have watched to see anyone else (especially not Tootie!).  However, I was over 40 then & have no idea which characters/actors attracted audiences when the show commenced some 10+ years earlier.   

Natalie was a VERY popular character. She had a lot of fans. She wasn't my favorite but she definitely had a following.

On 6/27/2016 at 8:24 PM, GHScorpiosRule said:

All I remember is that both Julie Ann and LIsa were from the Micky Mouse Club.

From time to time they would cast other MMC cast members in small roles. Shawnte Northcutte was in a 2nd season episode--maybe the one where Tootie is struggling with her identity as a black girl? And I think another MMC cast member was also cast in another episode but I can't remember which one.

On 12/12/2016 at 10:47 AM, ljenkins782 said:

Yeah, but Julie Piekarski couldn't pull off sarcasm. Her line delivery was very high school play-esque, she always sounded like she was trying to project to the back of the room, which comes off super cheesy on a small screen. 

Kim Fields was pretty solid that first year. Arguably a better acting quality than some of her later performances. She was sassier and not as whiny/dramatic as she would later become.  

I nevvvvver liked Julie Piekarski as Sue Ann. She was just not a great actor, very "ABC Afterschool Special"-ish, and it didn't help that the writers kept trying to set her up as Blair's rival, and social equal. As. If. I also disliked the headmaster--his character was written horribly, he was completely inadequate as an authority figure. 

You can tell the writers looooved Blair--nearly every other episode features her!

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14 hours ago, CeeBeeGee said:

I also disliked the headmaster--his character was written horribly, he was completely inadequate as an authority figure.

As I recall, hapless authority figures were a very popular trope at the time, an echo of the "ineffectual Dad" character.

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Your correction is right, CeeBeeGee. Though I just felt the need to use Jo's retort from season 8 ("The ratings game"):

Tootie Ramsey: "Muffy? Her name is Muffy? What kinda person is named Muffy?"
Jo Polniaczek: "Beats me, Tootie!"

;)

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I understand Mr. Bradley was supposed to be comic relief as the perpetually befuddled male headmaster of this all-girls' school but I didn't get why he was supposed to be hanging out with them all the time. I mean, he was even shown watching TV with them in their own dorm.  Didn't he have a TV in his own unseen quarters?

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On 2/7/2017 at 5:54 PM, CeeBeeGee said:

You can tell the writers looooved Blair--nearly every other episode features her!

I was watching some behind the scenes special of FOL and someone important ( maybe director) claimed that Lisa was the most beautiful teenager he had ever seen in his life.  This plus her character was kind of a stand out that first season probably assured her of not getting cut.

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I was just watching an old (or, I hasn't seen it) FOL behind the scenes docu show. It was interesting to see that Lisa didn't like to rehearse and would be reading books while doing so. The other cast finally had to tell her that it was really rude and unprofessional. Lisa said she was hurt for a few minutes but then realized that she was wrong and they were right. Apprently, she only needed to rehearse once and was good to go. She didn't want to do it over and over. It's pretty crazy when you realize that she ended up doing the show for 9 years. I guess she got over that quick. LOL!!! Also, she said she could barely get out of bed for work and didn't want to shower or even wash her hair. She would be baby powder in it to get buy. Mindy said she would show up in cargo pants and books in each pocket. She was the exact opposite of Blair. No wonder she did so well on Survivor. LOL!!!

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On Thursday, June 01, 2017 at 9:35 AM, ByaNose said:

I was just watching an old (or, I hasn't seen it) FOL behind the scenes docu show. It was interesting to see that Lisa didn't like to rehearse and would be reading books while doing so. The other cast finally had to tell her that it was really rude and unprofessional. Lisa said she was hurt for a few minutes but then realized that she was wrong and they were right. Apprently, she only needed to rehearse once and was good to go. She didn't want to do it over and over. It's pretty crazy when you realize that she ended up doing the show for 9 years. I guess she got over that quick. LOL!!! Also, she said she could barely get out of bed for work and didn't want to shower or even wash her hair. She would be baby powder in it to get buy. Mindy said she would show up in cargo pants and books in each pocket. She was the exact opposite of Blair. No wonder she did so well on Survivor. LOL!!!

Isn't crazy that the girl who seemed like the perfect mean girl Barbie doll was anything but.

She did not seem to enjoy acting at that age and I wonder if she was pushed by a parent who realized their daughter was a knockout?

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9 hours ago, qtpye said:

Isn't crazy that the girl who seemed like the perfect mean girl Barbie doll was anything but.

She did not seem to enjoy acting at that age and I wonder if she was pushed by a parent who realized their daughter was a knockout?

I remember her in the 1970's version of The Mickey Mouse Club (yeah, I'm that age) and while she was cute, she wan't the standout or knockout that she became a few years later. So if her parents pushed her into acting, it may not be because of her looks. But who knows? Maybe they pushed her into continuing due to her looks.

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I used to watch TNMMC obsessively (God, I loved that disco-tastic show). The Facts of Life cast quite a few of the Mousketeers from that iteration. Not just Lisa Whelchel but also Julie Piekarski (first season Sue Ann) and Shawnte Northcutte (she plays a friend of Tootie's and appeared in the "Who Am I?" where Tootie deals with the facts that most of her close friends are white). I think--am not quite sure but I think that Kelly Parsons was also in an episode of FOL.

Anyway, Lisa was already a performer then--she had a ventriloquist act that helped her get cast in TNMMC.

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So yesterday, MeTV decided to air a season one episode and a season two episode--makes no sense why.

But it turns out, that they disappeared Natalie's older sister, who was a flight attendant? The episode was about Tootie's dad coming to talk about careers and all Tootie could talk about was wanting to go to beauty school, and it was Mrs. Garrett who was teaching her all these beauty tips.

I'm pretty sure the sister was mentioned in season two as well, in a throw away line, but then later, it turned out that Natalie was an only child. Ooookay then.

And Tootie had two brothers; but they disappeared one of them.

Since it seems the same writers and show runners remained throughout the series, this is quite baffling.

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On 10/5/2017 at 9:48 AM, qtpye said:

Isn't crazy that the girl who seemed like the perfect mean girl Barbie doll was anything but.

She did not seem to enjoy acting at that age and I wonder if she was pushed by a parent who realized their daughter was a knockout?

I'm a little late to the party here, but has anyone mentioned Lisa's music.  On her album, the one song she wrote is "All Because of You."  In it, she sings, "Looking at the screen, who's the staring back at me?  Is that the person I'm supposed to be?  Many think they know me well, few who really do.  Lord, let the whole world see the light that shines through me is You."  I suppose not everyone saw her as she really was physically, socially, or spiritually.  I knew she played guitar, did ventriloquism, and was a Christian.  Didn't know she was more about laid-back cargo pants and reading all the time.  And I thought I was a fan!  :)

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On 10/5/2017 at 10:48 AM, qtpye said:

Isn't crazy that the girl who seemed like the perfect mean girl Barbie doll was anything but.

She did not seem to enjoy acting at that age and I wonder if she was pushed by a parent who realized their daughter was a knockout?

Actually, she pursued her acting career more or less in SPITE of her parents. When the New Mickey Mouse Club began holding auditions, she sent them a letter from her native Texas stating her interest. Unfortunately, they responded by telling her that the auditions were over. Her response? She and her dad were willing to drive out to Hollywood if they would let her audition! Remember, she was only 13 at the time! What drive she must have had then. As a result, she was the last Mouseketeer (or Disco Mouse, in her case) cast.

I know she moved out to LA with her grandmother, while her parents and brother stayed behind in Texas, even once FOL started. There was a whole article in TV Guide in 1982 where she talked about the loneliness she sometimes felt for her friends and family back in Texas. 

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